Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fly Fishing Lingo

Every sport has its own lingo. For basketball if someone could jump high they'd have "hops". If they could dribble well they had "mad handles". If you made most of your shots you were "money". A player lucky enough to have a bunch of these talents had "game." I was thinking today about fly fishing lingo. I thought maybe us fly fishing bloggers could create a glossary of fly fishing terms not so well known to those outside the fishing world. Here are the ones that came to mind.

A Broomstick - A fly rod with virtually no flex. The rod has to be over weighted about 3 line weights to load right.

A Noodle - The opposite of a broomstick. The rod has too much flex and has the flexibility of a small branch.

Pig, Toad, Hog - Labels for large fish by some fisherman. *For some fisherman a large fish is labeled after a different species once it reaches a certain size. No known reason for this behavior.

Slow Fishing - Lets be honest, slow fishing means you're not catching anything.

Lunker - Another term for big fish.

Sketchy - Usually describing an unfavorable condition. Such as sketchy wading.

Chicken - A monster fly that looks as though you've used all of the feathers off a chicken.

Speck - Depends on if you're fishing salt water or freshwater. In freshwater it means a brook trout, if it is salt water it means a speckled trout.

Bucket Mouth - Largemouth Bass

Dink - Small chub or minnow

Bait Chucker - Spin fisherman, bait caster

Blue Line - Water that is not stocked and has not been designated to hold populations of trout.

LDR - Long distance release, when you hook a fish from a distance and it comes off. *technically not a catch to some fisherman.

SDR - Short distance release. *If you touch the leader the fish is considered caught by some fisherman.

Golden Bone - Carp

Southern Salmon - American or Hickory Shad. The fish migrate from the ocean inland to spawn similar to some Salmon species.

Trash Fish - Carp, Gar, Bowfin. Coincidentally some of the greatest fighting fish on a fly rod.

Tailing - the feeding pattern of a fish where there head is down and the tail slightly breaks the surface of the water.

Mudding - Feeding pattern of fish routing in the mud and causing plumes to form. Most commonly seen when carp are feeding.

Windknot - When the wind tangles your leader into a tangled knot. *Sometimes called birds nest.

I can't believe no more come to mind. I'm sure you others can think of a ton more.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

When it's good, It's good.

It only took about a day and a half for people to stop asking where I was every morning. They knew the answer was going to be "fishing." It took even less time for them to stop asking if I caught anything. The answer was always "oh yeah!" I was in the Shenandoah Valley for my wife's Family Reunion. I seemed to be the only one that had fishing as a priority. Others showed interest and I came to borderline begging some to fish with me. In the end most of my fishing excursions were alone. There was a trip where I took my seven year old nephew to the Shenandoah River. I had delusions that we'd be wading together casting at smallies and possibly a muskie. That's not how it turned out at all. I forget how tall the average seven year old is. My nephew tried his best to follow me but every time I turned around he had water almost to his chest and the current was making it hard for him to keep his balance. I ended up carrying him while wading to various shallow spots. My knees took a beating and my nephew was more concerned with the minnows circling his feet than casting a line. I made an attempt to take him to the shallows near shore but he was afraid of the crawfish. No matter how much I told him they were harmless and a good sign fish would be around he wouldn't go near them. So that was basically all the fishing that was done with family.

You have to love the Internet where you can ask a question in a forum and a total stranger is willing to give you creditable information. I was tipped off to a brookie stream near where we were staying. I had no expectations and left to see what the water had to offer. The first glimpses of the stream were a mix of amazing and is there enough water there for fish? The water was also near a road and had to be heavily pressured. It was time to test the 3wt St Croix Avid. I had bought it for this very situation. The stream was so narrow I could straddle it.
From Summer2011
My first few casts went directly into the trees. I started to spend more time untangling my leader than casting to pools. It was pretty frustrating and anyone within a half of a mile could probably hear my cursing. I put a lot of pressure on myself to get the cast perfect and give the best presentation possible. I spooked what looked to be fish but were they trout? I started to get a little lackadaisical. I started to just kind of thrash cast at pools and not really concentrate.
From Summer2011
Then I went over a 3ft wide run and kind of just dangled my line in a riffle, WHAM!!!!!!!!!!! A fish came out from under a rock and slammed the fly. All I saw was a purple shimmer and splashing. I was in such amazement and the fish hit so close to me I almost didn't even bring it in. I kept just staring wondering did that truly just happen? I brought the fish in and saw that it was a brookie. My adrenaline went off the charts. I didn't have my net and this brookie was easily 7inches and slippery. I had my camera around my neck but my nervous reactions knocked the lens cap right in the creek. Who cares? I need to take a picture of this fish. I decided to hold it by the fly and got the camera ready. Literally as I was pressing the shutter the fish jerked and unhooked itself and came out of my hands. After that there was a sequence of slow motion events. Me yelling Noooooooo.... while watching the fish fall back into the water. Just as fast as it was unhooked it was gone without a trace. I sat there for a minute just contemplating. I just caught my first brookie and it was big for this stream. That might be the only fish I catch here. I was happy but disappointed all at the same time. Should I go get my net? That would stop this from happening again. I wasn't sure exactly what to do. I cast again literally three feet down the riffle again a flash comes up slams the fly and a fish is on. This one came off before I could get my hands on it. That's it! I'm getting the net.

I grabbed the lens cap and went back to the car for my net. I knew the fish liked the fly I was using and it was only a matter of time before I hooked another one. I was also a little relieved by the brookies behavior. The perfect cast reputation I had in my head was erased by the aggressive almost bluegill like behavior I witnessed. I learned quick there are scenarios where a perfect cast is required and where it wasn't. Perfect casts were needed for pools like this.
From Summer2011
So I did what any great fisherman would do. I skipped those and went for places where my horrible casts would produce results. I finally found a pool where the spillway made a nice run into the middle of the pool. I figured a fish had to be in the middle of the run and hanging low. I went with a hairs ear nymph instead of a dry. The goal was going to be to hope the fish would swing around after the fly passed. Hit the fly and almost hook itself. The theory worked and with in seconds a fish was on. My net was ready and this fish was mine. My first brookie to be caught on film was this fish.
From Summer2011
A picture can not even get close to showing how beautiful these fish are. Most camera's have a hard time capturing their color because most brookie streams are under a canopy allowing hardly any light. Even with this fish I took one picture it made a few lurches and was out of the net and back into the water. These fish are masters of conserving energy. They wait until the exact moment you loosen your grip or unhook them to start flipping around as hard as they can. It must be a learned response to help them survive. I caught a few more fish but didn't want to stress them too bad. I felt I had a pic of a wild brookie and that basically made the trip for me. Little did I know there was a lot more fun in store.

The Shenandoah Valley reminds me a lot of parts of Western North Carolina. The Shenandoah River runs through the valley and it is fed by creeks from the surrounding mountains. Most of these streams hold wild trout and the river holds a good population of Smallmouth and Muskie. I checked it out the morning after I hit the wild brookie stream. I figured anything I caught at this point was just icing. A guide waiting for a tubing group said "are you fishing?" I said Yeah. "You might want to try another spot, I have about 30 tubers coming down river in five minutes." Normally this would bother me but this day I didn't mind at all. That's fine they shouldn't disturb the water too much. The guide continued to tell me about another spot that did sound good and mentioned the spot I was currently at was pretty dead. "There's a few muskie but not much else." He said. He had me at muskie. That's on my list of fish to catch. I was also a little confused because when I came with my nephew the day before you could see fish all over. I decided to stick where I was at. I just figured I could try the other spot another day.
From Summer2011
The Shenandoah River reminded me a lot of the New River in Virginia. They both are fairly clear and have ledges and rocky bottoms. The ledges have a very strange topography and hold perfect lies for fish. I found one that I could walk on and it was almost like a casting platform. It went on for about 200yds and it was only about two foot wide. I could see fish every where and I watched several follow my fly. As I walked upstream from the boat launch I was stopped in my tracks. Literally where my nephew and I were standing the day before was a muskie just hanging out in the shade. I stood just watching for at least five minutes. In my head I kept trying to make out is that really a muskie?
From Summer2011
It's hard to tell from the pic but the muskie was about 25+ inches long. I had a 5wt and I figured it would be a formidable opponent. But did I have any flies big enough to entice this thing? I don't know too much about muskie. I read they fight hard and can be fairly aggressive. Supposedly the bigger the fly the better. I tied on about a 3inch long bunny leech fly said a prayer and launched it. My cast couldn't have been better and I watched the fly get closer and closer. I like to envision what I want to happen. In my head I could see the muskie charging the fly and peeling off line up river. My fly was with in three inches of the fish, now two, now one. The fly almost touched the fishes nose and it didn't even twitch a fin. Hmmm maybe the fly was at the wrong depth. I cast again this time the fly didn't come as close but still no movement from the fish. Maybe it's the fly. I tried another one, same response. Then a third fly. Is this fish dead? I mean the thing didn't move at all. I decided to just watch it for another five minutes. I took my camera out to get a better zoom on the fish and I could see it's back fin barely moving providing a little propulsion. I took a step forward and the fish started to slowly turn upstream. Was this it's feeding position? If it was I didn't have what it was looking for. I cast another fifty times and eventually got fed up and just walked by the fish. When I waded by the glare from the water camouflaged the muskie and I couldn't see it even with polarized glasses. It made me wonder how many I'd pass through out the day.

It was time to target smallies. I tried green and white clousers first the fish followed but would never commit to hitting the fly. Then I tried the poppers I tied. I had some hits but nothing would stick. I went through a few more flies then remembered the crawfish I saw the day before. During my recent fly swap I received a fly that was supposed to be for bone fish but it made the perfect crawfish imitation. I tied it on and saw a behavior I had never encountered before. There was a smallie about 10ft downstream off the ledge I was fishing on. The water was gin clear so I could see the fish perfectly. I dropped my fly down and watched the fish follow the fly, I gave it a twitch instead of the fish hitting, it positioned itself right behind the fly and let it swim into it's mouth. If I didn't see the whole thing I would have never reacted fast enough to set the hook. The fish instantly turned and headed downstream. I had no slack line so the reel sang a little. The smallie fought hard but in the end I won.
From Summer2011
After seeing the behavior I kind of figured the fish out. If they followed the fly I'd give a few twitches and if I felt any tension in the line I'd do a strip strike. I missed a few but managed to catch some more.
From Summer2011

The next days were spent fishing the Shenandoah River and exploring the surrounding streams. It was really hot even for July. The streams were all low and none produced anything like the first stream I hit. I hit it one more time before the end of the trip.
From Summer2011
I went further upstream this time and the water got better and better. The pools were deeper and the most amazing part was it seemed untouched. There were only animal tracks and no trash. It was just how a wild brookie stream should be. I started the morning the same way I did the last time. Defending myself from a monster hornet then descended into the water and battled with trees my first twenty casts. The first run I actually got a decent cast in produced a fish. My net was with me and I was a lot smoother snapping a pic and releasing the fish.
From Summer2011
The coloring on these fish was ridiculous and rivaled the brook trout I caught in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
From Summer2011
These fish are far from stupid. If you move to fast or cast too sloppy you will just see shadows disappearing. If you do a decent cast and get it in the vicinity of a run or pool many times you will see a wake before your fly is slurped down. Eventually I got greedy and time was slipping away. I wanted to go for the biggest brookie I could find. I seeked out the deepest pool.
From Summer2011
This one looked good. The only problem was the log laying across the best part of the pool. I decided to try it any ways. I tied on a big stimulator with rubber legs. My first cast landed to the left of the spillway. One thing I have to mention about these fish is they are the ninja of trout. You won't see them even after they come up and hit your fly you will not be sure of what you just saw. I had a fish hit and spit my fly all with in about one second. If you let your guard down at all that will be the time the fish hits. Luckily this spot was the jackpot and I had several attempts to catch a fish. I hooked one, fought it for a bit then gingerly lifted it over the log.
From Summer2011
You have to respect what these fish do to survive. These streams are so small they almost freeze over in the winter. The pools aren't large enough to really escape predators. It's amazing there's any fish really. That's why after catching them I treated the fish like a rare artifact. I missed more than I caught out of this hole, even a fish that had to be close to 10inches, but I was already on cloud nine. The fish gods were kind to me.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Blog People

It is interesting how I can relate to so many people who write fly fishing blogs. Our lives are separated by distance but related in many ways. A blog is an interesting entity in itself. I relate it to waiting in line for something with other people and over hearing conversations you can totally relate too. The beauty of blogs in this example is imagine that same line of people but all of them with the same interest as you. Then to top it off instead of feeling awkward and out of place by making a comment. Your comments are welcomed and usually reciprocated. It really does start to feel like a community. You get excited when you see a blog update and after you've written a post you secretly wait in anticipation for your first comment. It's narcissistic and wonderful all the same.

I hate reading but I can't wait to read what people have written on a blog. It feels more alive because you can interact with the author. There are also serious diamonds in the rough. Authors with the ability to have their work published are hidden and often times by their own choice in the blogosphere. It's some what difficult for me to find things I enjoy for any length of time. I don't seem to have that issue with blogs. They are constantly entertaining and changing. There seems to be a new one popping up all the time and with sites like the Outdoor Bloggers Network it is only going to get better.

I'm writing this from VA. I'm in the Shenandoah Valley for my wifes family reunion. Things are fun but I seem to be the only one that has fishing as a priority. I'll have pics of my adventure later. Unfortunately many of my fishing adventures have been solo missions. I never realized how when you get to an obsessed fly fishing level a lot of people can't hang.

The Affair

I have to admit what first attracted me was her looks. She wasn’t the prettiest thing I had ever seen but she did have the curves I find attractive. I was teased at first mistaking her for easy but later I realized I had to earn the chance to reap her true rewards. I see her seldom but she intrudes my dreams often. Her demeanor seems soft but she has the power to cut rock. It isn’t always fun times. Some days she is angry and wants nothing to do with me. Dirty and stained by her environment. Other times I’m engulfed in her hospitality and relief from the elements. She understands me. I want to keep her to myself but all I can really take of her is memories. My fear is one day she may be gone, stolen by a wealthy man or corrupted and tainted by society. Happily, I enjoy the time I have with her and it is when I let go and stop trying to figure her out that I enjoy her the most.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Messing with Gills

The pond by my work is a place where I experiment with different flies and try to observe fish behavior. There are ponds next to one another and the fish will act differently depending on what body of water they live in. The bass are not large in the main pond I fish. I think the blue gill are effecting the population. They seem to compete for the same food sources. I found some blue gill beds today. The biggest gill was spending the most of it's time fending off other bluegill from entering the bed. The bass seemed to use this opportunity to hit any food that came close to the area.
The bass were very aggressive. After this video I caught a few more on the other side of the pond. The bass hit without any hesitation. I will be in VA for my wifes family reunion. I tied up some more poppers just in case I get on the Shenandoah River. I'm not sure really where to fish. I talked to a fly shop and they gave me so many options I got over whelmed. I hope to hit a brookie creek and fish for small mouth one day. I tied up some bass bait just for the trip. Here are my latest poppers and clousers.Photobucket

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Poppers and Pork Chops

The recent fly swap went well. So well in fact it gave me motivation to try some new types of flies. I'm going to the Shenandoah Valley next week, I decided I'd tie some poppers for smallmouth.

I ran across this Bass Popper Tutorial on the blog Proven Patterns. The tutorial made this look easy enough and I have been thinking about tying poppers for awhile. Even though the tutorial says to use cork I decided to try foam. After getting everything I realized why these flies cost so much. You always think some how you will come out ahead when you tie flies yourself. It never seems to work out that way. Especially for me. I never take into consideration the time it takes to tie a fly. Each one of these took awhile. I found out some interesting things along the way.

The tutorial instructs you to heat up the bodkin then stab it through the head of the fly. I forgot what melting Styrofoam smells like. I was instantly brought back to the days of throwing a cup into a camp fire. Although the memory was fond the smell is horrible and I had to get up a few times. Knowing the fumes are toxic kind of bugs me even though the level I was breathing in probably wouldn't do that much damage. Once getting the legs threw, I painted the fly with sharpie markers. I think Sharpie read this persons blog before selling their products. Because they didn't have a set that had just the three colors I needed. Black, light and dark green. You either had to buy each color separately or buy a set that has colors you probably will never use. Or you will use them just because you want to get your moneys worth. I have to admit coloring the flies was probably the funnest part. After allowing the marker to dry I moved on to applying a seal. The tutorial says you should use Hard as Nails and explains if you don't let the marker dry the ink will smear. I'm not sure if it was because I was using foam instead of cork but the smearing seemed to be based on how much Hard as Nails was on the brush. The more liquid the more chance you were going to smear the ink. The first fly I did that was designed to be kind of a sneaky pete pattern did smear and I think it looks good. Some of the other poppers the ink smeared even though I was trying my best to not let that happen. I still like how the flies came out I just with they looked a little sharper. The last part was tying the tail. The tutorial never goes into how or what materials you should use to tie the tail. I googled poppers and looked on youtube to find ideas for tying the tail. It looked as though you could use anything. I mostly went with bucktail, flashabou, rabbit strip and marabou.
From Summer2011
I'm debating putting rubber legs on the fly in the top right. I like the look of it without them but I think it would look even better with them.

My mother-in-law is from Louisiana. When she goes back home to visit she always brings Cajun delicacies back home for us. I love most of them but there is one in particular that I look forward too. It is called a stuffed pork chop. You can cook it many ways but I recently found it's great coming right off the grill.What is it stuffed with? Oh just a Cajun seasoned meatball. Genius!It takes about two days to digest it but it's more than worth it.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Fly Swap

I have a confession to make. I loathe fly tying. Some may say that's blasphemy coming from a fly fisherman but I just don't find it that enjoyable. I do it more out of necessity and needing a certain pattern then out of fun. So why would a person who feels this way join a fly swap? I asked myself the same question as I was cussing to myself while trying to wrap rabbit strip around rubber legs. My fly fishing club decided to do a fly swap and luckily only 5 people are showing up. That means I only had to tie five flies. Then I had another dilemma. Would anyone even want my flies? I've had people borrow my flies before but they were usually new fly fisherman who had no idea what I was handing them. I started to get a little sensitive about it. To me fly comments should be similar to when you go over to someones house for dinner. You don't criticize the meal you just eat it or pretend to be sick. So would people just take my fly or use the excuse that they already have plenty like that. This bothered me so much instead of just tying 5 flies I tied about 20. I signed up to do bunny leech type patterns for bass. In the end I tied the leech patterns plus quite a few clousers.
From Summer2011
From Summer2011
The great part of tying is seeing your accomplishments. You can't help but be delighted when you open a fly box and see it filled with your creations. It's only trumped by actually catching a fish with one of those flies. I might give tying more thought now. We'll see how this swap goes.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fly Shop Crime

I was at The Great Outdoor Provision Company today talking to my friend Jim that works there. In the middle of our conversation he stops and grabs a pack of feathers obviously angry. "THIS WON'T DO AT ALL!" He said. I analyzed the pack in his hand and wondered what exactly was wrong. The feathers looked fine they were little off color from the other pack. I couldn't believe Jim would be that anal. Then he told me, "half the pack is missing." I thought why would someone steal just a few feathers and not a whole pack.

"People are stealing them for their hair." Jim said.

I never thought I'd see the day when people would shoplift feathers for their hair. Jim told me how much people were selling them for and I started to understand why. If you have some old feathers laying around you think you'll never use you might want to post them on Craigslist. You might be sitting on a fortune.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Things Started Clicking

The family headed to the mountains again for the holiday weekend. I wasn't sure how much fishing I'd actually get in. On Sat we went to Todd and checked out The River Girl Fishing Company. It's mainly a canoe and tube rental place but the owner Kelly, does fly casting and fishing trips on the side. I talked to her every now and then on facebook. The shop was having a celebration for Kelly's son and there was bbq, facepainting and other stuff going on. Kelly has a huge pot belly pig that roams around the shop. The pig liked laying in the shade of the bbq tent. It made for a good picture.
From Summer2011

This pig is huge and a little intimidating at over 200lbs. When you pet it you realize quickly the animal is a gentle giant. My daughter wanted to pet it so bad but she was discouraged after Petunia gave a few grunts.
From Summer2011
I had planned on getting a few flies and after exploring I noticed a rack of fly rods. At first I thought they were for sale but then I noticed they were strung up. One was exactly what I was looking for. A short length seven foot 3wt. It was a St Croix Avid. I've never fished a St Croix rod but the reviews I've heard have been positive. I asked Kelly if she'd be willing to sell me that rod. After some deliberation and negotiating. She gave me a great deal and I couldn't wait to fish it. It was going to have to wait, my family was on the way to Galax for a 4th of July slash family get together.

The next day I woke up early. I'm not sure if I was excited to fish or if I just couldn't sleep. I just kind of sat there not knowing what to do with myself. Since I felt so awake I decided to get ready and head out the door. There was a wild creek I wanted to revisit. I couldn't remember exactly where it was. I drove all over this mountain for about 40min with out ever wetting my line. I ended up settling on a hatchery supported stretch. The water was really low but there were fish where you'd expect them. I was excited to see how the Avid cast. After a couple casts I was impressed. The rod could cast small flies softly but it also had the power to throw larger flies. It was perfect for the small tight creek I was fishing. With the water conditions I had to hide behind rocks and almost crawl from pool to pool. I hate this type of fishing, I don't have the patience for it. I also brought too much stuff on the stream with me. I started leaving various things along the creek almost like bread crumbs. I had a few chances at fish but never hooked anything. I decided this wasn't for me and went to check out a new stream. On the way out I went to put my rod down and hooked my finger. I sometimes carry my rod above the fly holder. I was using a dropper set up so I had a fly in the fly holder plus another one about 6-8 inches above it. When I went to set the rod down I kind of let it slide threw my hand and the second fly stuck. Of course right as someone was driving by and stopped. I dropped down and instantly started to try to work the fly out of my finger. It had to look suspicious to the other car with me all of a sudden dropping behind the car as soon as they pulled up. I had a little higher priorities than worrying about assumptions at the moment. I kept playing with the fly and it looked pretty deep. Then all the ways to remove flies started shooting through my head, none of them painless. I kept playing with the fly and eventually it came free. As I stood up the car started to pull away. This wasn't a great way to break in the new 3wt.

There were a ton of fishing options and I was battling which water I wanted to fish. There was a place that I call the gut spot. I've never had an epic day there but I feel there has to be fish there. The water is very scenic and fishy looking. When I got there my finger was still stinging from the hooking earlier. I decided to slow things down and take my time. I did something I've never done since my first days of fly fishing. I picked up rocks and tried to see what nymphs were in the water. Usually I just start fishing with a certain pattern I know works. Today I was switching it up. The first few rocks looked bare giving me a grim feeling. The third rock was full of bugs. I saw a large swimming nymph. I'm not sure what it was then a free swimming caddis rock worm and some other small nymphs. I had caddis larvae nymphs but nothing that matched this larger one. The large nymph was black so I tried a stone fly nymph. The first section was fast and I could see fish in the main run. I cast up stream and watched intently as the line moved across the pool. I could see fish swirling and flashing every where. I set the hook several times but there was no connection. It took me a few minutes but I realized the bigger fish were Red Horse sucker fish. They are fun to catch but extremely difficult to hook. I worked the pool some more hoping for a trout and had a small fish slam my line. The fish had the look of a common creek chub but changed as it came closer.
From Summer2011
A Smallie! I heard they were in this river but I had never caught one. Even though the fish was small I was tickled that my fly selection had worked and that I caught a small mouth. I worked more runs downstream. I noticed fish wanted the flies swinging and worked upstream a little. I started to catch little smallies rather consistently. I cast near a small rock and had an interesting hook up.
From Summer2011
I rarely catch doubles and a Small Mouth, Rock Bass double is pure awesome. I love the coloring on the small mouth. The fishing was really good and the 3wt was the perfect rod for this situation. The morning went on with me catching fish consistently. With a few sunfish and warpaint shiners thrown in.
From Summer2011
I wanted to stay there all day but I couldn't.

I was hoping I could fish in the afternoon. Clouds lingered in the distance and a nice thunderstorm came through. I was thinking maybe the streams had been blown out. The rain came down pretty hard and was accompanied by plenty of lightning and thunder. The evening wore on and it was hard sell to my wife but I was able to get out on the water again. I only had maybe an hour and a half of fishing daylight. I went to the same section that gave me so much luck in the morning. This time I worked upstream.
From Summer2011
Because I knew there were small mouth in the river. I went with my go to small mouth fly. A sneaky pete. I worked the banks and wasn't disappointed. On almost every cast I had a splash or a fish.
From Summer2011
It was a mix of rock bass and small mouth. The evening was surreal. Dissipating storm clouds in the distance, red shouldered black birds skimming bugs off the water and fish slamming my fly. I waded back before it got so dark that I couldn't see where I was walking. There was one more section I wanted to try. I fished it the last time I was here and saw a bass but didn't catch a thing. I wasn't totally sure if I should fish or just go home. A splash from a jumping fish made my mind up for me. I cast towards the splash and let my fly just dead drift in the current. There wasn't any action for a few casts. I was casting from the bank with heavy trees lining the bank behind me. There was a small gap in the trees and that's where I was trying to get my line on my back cast. I was able to work it out so I could get maybe a 90ft cast. When the fly hit the water a shadow rose. I couldn't make it out but as quickly as it rose my fly disappeared. I'd like to say it was my fishing skill that hooked the fish. With the dying light I could barely make out the take. The fish really hooked itself. When I pulled back on the line I knew it was a smallie and a good one. Probably the biggest I had ever caught. I had heard how these fish fight but it didn't seem to live up to the hype. That was at least until it got near shore. Then it bolted and if I didn't have so much stripped line on the ground it would have pulled my drag easily. I was happy I pulled out the 5wt. The fish came to hand and I couldn't have been more happy.
From Summer2011
The fish wasn't a monster but it was a giant compared to what I had been catching earlier. It was a perfect way to end the day.